Sunday, May 22, 2016

moringa smoothie

Moringa leaves are absolutely amazing (look it up) and have been used for centuries in ayurvedic medicine. I've been putting the raw organic powder form in our smoothies for a few days now. It's definitely an unusual taste, sort of herbal and spicy, but I'm starting to really like it.

Here was today's conjured concoction: 2 avocados, 1 banana, 1 carrot, 1 lemon, 1/8 cabbage, 4 heaping teaspoons moringa powder, 1 cup frozen mixed unsweetened berries, water.

Blend. Enjoy. Live long and prosper.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

(*not* paleo) berry-orange trifle

When my Japanese class + Sensei came over recently for a party at our house, I knew I wanted to make trifle. It's just not a thing in Japan, and I wanted to share a bit of (half of) my culture.

When Stephen had a birthday party in Seattle in 2011, I made a rhubarb trifle (rhubarb was exceptionally easy to come by in the Pacific Northwest--how I miss it, the PNW and the rhubarb).

I basically just concocted this berry-orange trifle from what I had on hand (I did have to buy the Castella cake and the cream because I don't keep wheat or dairy products in the house). It worked beautifully, and Stephen is staring over my shoulder at the photos right now asking me to make it again soon.

Per British specifications for trifle, you really should use some sort of gelatin, but I left it out here.

You'll need:
  • Castella (Portuguese cake introduced to Japan in the 16th century, and now very popular here) or pound cake
  • 2 navel oranges, zest and juice
  • Orange marmalade
  • 4 cups frozen mixed unsweetened berries
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons orange curacao
  • heavy cream for whipping
  • 1/2 t. vanilla extract
  • powdered sugar
  • chopped candied orange peel
Do this:

Heat your chopped candied orange peel in the curacao and let it set and plump up. This will be your final decoration on top of the trifle.

Make little marmalade sandwiches with the cake slices, and poke holes with a skewer in each one. Set aside.

Concoct a berry sauce on the stovetop with the frozen berries, maple syrup, orange peel, orange juice, and a splash (or several) of more orange curacao. Let cool off a little.

Whip your cream with the vanilla and powdered sugar, to taste.

Layer some of the cake sandwiches in the bottom of a big clear glass bowl, pour over some of the sauce, then spread some of the cream. Continue layering until you have filled up your bowl and ended up with cream on top. Sprinkle with the schnockered candied orange peel and refrigerate for a good long while.

Enjoy with some Brazilian and Japanese friends.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

steamed eggs

In our survey, 7 out of 8 eggs preferred steaming to boiling for the perfect peel.

Do you know how hard it is to peel farm-fresh boiled eggs? Nigh near impossible. They break up into millions of pieces, and I end up having to make egg salad.

No more! I recently heard of an eggs-cellent alternative to boiling: steaming. Just plop your eggs in a steamer basket with enough water in the pot to boil for twenty minutes.

And voila! Seven out of my eight eggs peeled beautifully. Little white orbs of loveliness.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

(almost) paleo sweet-potato hash

With the crazy-deep-orange-red yolks in the eggs I buy from a local farm, I just can't get enough of them. Thank goodness science has disproved the whole egg-cholesterol thing!

I saw this recipe yesterday and had to try it, pronto. Of course I changed it quite a bit (just can't help meself). The original recipe said it was a breakfast hash, but who has time to do this much prep and then bake something in the morning? I did a lot of the prep last night, got it all together (except for the eggs), and let it dream in the fridge overnight. And we had it for dinner tonight. I pulled it out of the fridge when we got home this evening from a superb afternoon at the park, put it in a 350 F/170 C oven for about 20 minutes to reheat, and then put the eggs in for another 20 minutes. If you like really runny eggs, cook them for about 15 or so.

Here's how it went down.

You'll need:
  • 1 sweet potato, scrubbed, dried, and chopped (leave the skins on)
  • 1/2 kabocha (Japanese green-skinned, orange-fleshed pumpkin), chopped (leave the peel on)
  • sea salt 
  • olive oil
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 5 or so pieces of bacon, diced
  • 10 or so mini sausages, sliced 
  • more olive oil
  • dried parsley
  • garlic powder
  • salt and pepper
  • dried onion flakes
  • leftover British Heinz baked beans from the Nonoichi Costco, if you have them on hand (this is where this dish deviates from Paleo--and I did add the beans, and then had to have a digestive enzyme after the meal--beans do not like my GI system one bit) 
  • as many eggs as you like
  • toppings: chopped fresh parsley and (not shown, because we did this individually on our own plates) sliced green onions
  • Tabasco sauce for serving (I had none and wished I did--this was great without it, but I had a craving for it for some reason)
Do this:

Roast your sweet potato and kabocha with sea salt and olive oil till tender.

In an oven-proof pan, saute the red pepper, bacon, and sausages in olive oil till a bit browned, then add dried parsley (or fresh), garlic powder, salt and pepper, and onion flakes (and baked beans, if using).

In the saute pan, stir in the roasted sweet potato and kabocha. You can either go ahead and make some indentations to add the raw eggs and then bake this for 15-20 minutes at 350 F/170 C, or you can leave off the eggs for now and put this as-is in the fridge to use later.

If you've put it in the fridge, pull it out when you're ready and bake for 20 minutes, then add the eggs for 20 more, if you like. When I made the indentations to add our 6 eggs, I broke one egg at a time into a small bowl before dumping in to make sure there were no shell fragments.

There was just something about this that made the eggs so, so extra creamy, almost like cheese. It was a delightful meal.

(I use all-natural bacon and sausages: no artificial colors or flavors and no nasty chemical preservatives.)

Monday, March 21, 2016

paleo breakfasts

If you try to eat sort of Paleo-ish, here are a few of my recent breakie ideas:

1. Fried (in grapeseed oil) farm-fresh deep-orange-yolked eggs, sprinkled with salt and pepper and smothered in lettuce, green onions, and kimchi. Oh my! The lusciousness.
2. Leftover curried egg salad wrapped in natural ham (no dyes, no preservatives, no junk) and served with edamame. Superb.
3. Pumpkin muffins (recipe in Practical Paleo) made with coconut-flour, coconut oil, warm spices, and cranberries. All-natural uncured Canadian bacon (no preservatives, no junk, bought from Costco), tea with almond milk, and some warm water with gelatin dissolved in it (I drink this every morning for my joints).
What do you eat for breakfast? Any new ideas for me?

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

coconut-flour pumpkin pancakes

I haven't made these pancakes in ages, and I got a hankering for them this past weekend.

The recipe is based off the pumpkin pancake recipe in Practical Paleo (by Diane Sanfilippo), but I (of course) change it to my liking and to what I have on hand. She doesn't call for any flour, but I like to add 1/4 cup of coconut flour to a double batch of these pancakes. I find they stick together better and are fluffier.

You'll need (for a double batch to feed four people):
  •  8 eggs
  • 1 cup pureed pumpkin (I used homemade from kabocha that I had frozen in 1/2-cup bags)
  • 2 t. vanilla extract
  • 4 T. melted coconut oil
  • 4 T. maple syrup or honey (optional)
  • 2 t. pumpkin pie spice (I use a mixture of mostly cinnamon with some nutmeg and ground ginger thrown in)
  • 2 t. cinnamon
  • 1/2 t. baking soda
  • 1/4 c. coconut flour
Do this:

Whisk eggs, pumpkin, vanilla, oil, and syrup in a bowl, then sift in the spices, baking soda, and coconut flour. Oil your skilled with more coconut oil and cook as you would normal pancakes, flipping when the edges are firm.

And to serve? Oh MY! We tried a little regular maple syrup for some, and as an alternative, our local Yamato Soy Sauce Company's soy-sauce ice-cream topping. Amazing. It's very caramel-y, with dark sweet and salty depths. 

But why is that table empty except for Mama's portion? Well, if you make pancakes, be prepared to eat at the stove as you go and/or eat later by yourself after serving everyone else along the way. No problem, though, because these were worth it. 

Sunday, February 21, 2016

dairy-free chocolate-banana-peanut-butter smoothie

You'll need:
  • 1 very ripe banana
  • 3 heaping teaspoons fair-trade dark cocoa powder (no sugar)
  • 200 ml milk (I used half soy and half almond)
  • a few ice cubes
  • 4 T. peanut butter (I made it with organic salted peanuts and a little walnut oil)
Do this:

Blend on a smoothie setting and distribute among four small eager glasses.


It's so yum I wrote a haiku about it:

Smoothie mine: you're yum
So lovely I want more now
Thick rich creamy love

lotus-root (renkon) and kabocha (pumpkin) curry

We had some leftover chicken curry and I wanted some veggies to go with it. The renkon (lotus root) and kabocha (Japanese green-skinned pumpkin) were staring at me from the produce drawer, expectant and wanting to be friends.

I found my inspiration from this Sri Lankan curry, but changed it drastically to use what I had on hand.

You'll need:
  • 2 pieces of lotus root (washed, peeled, sliced, and soaked in cool water for ten minutes, then drained), or I might suggest you could used cubed potatoes instead if you don't have access to lotus root
  • 1/4 kabocha, washed and chopped (skin left on), or regular pumpkin or squash
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 3 T. tomato paste
  • 2 t. dried onion flakes (or chopped fresh onion)
  • 1 1/2 t. dried garlic flakes (or freshly minced garlic)
  • 1 t. sea salt
  • 1/2 t. chili powder
  • 1 t. turmeric
  • 2 t. curry powder
  • a little coconut oil
Do this:

Saute your renkon (or potatoes) and kabocha in some coconut oil for a few minutes, then add the rest of the ingredients and stir till combined. Let simmer for a little while until the kabocha is soft. The renkon will stay pretty crunchy.

And that's the beauty of this curry: crunchy and soft, sweet and spicy.

Serve with rice and some leftover chicken curry.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

paleo breakie sans eggs

I get the loveliest farm-fresh eggs from a local source here in Kanazawa, with deep orange yolks from happy hens.

But when you run out, and you try to focus on eating Paleo for feeling your best, what do you do about breakie?

This morning: natural ham slices (no preservatives or colors or yucky stuff), apple wedges with homemade almond butter, and "cereal" (chopped raw almonds, cashews, pecans, raisins, dried cranberries, and hemp hearts) to which I added almond milk after I took the photo.

Plus tea and almond milk.

It was delicious, and even though it's 12:30 and lunchtime, I'm not ravenous.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

gluten-free chocolate-dipped gingersnaps

Happy Love Day! One of the ways we celebrated was baking together. It was a real labor of love, actually, because I had to start by making my own almond flour the day before. I blitzed some raw almonds in my blender (with skins) till powdery, though there were a few almondy chunks left here and there. I didn't worry about those, because I knew this recipe would involve a food processor today and everything would be sorted out with another blast.
Honestly, I think gingersnaps are my favorite of all cookies. There's something about a spicy crisp bite with a cuppa to help make the world seem a little bit more beautiful.

And aren't these fellas handsome? I'm so loved by and in love with the three special blokes in my life.
I based this recipe on Against All Grain's gingersnaps here. (And not all the cookies came out this heart-y. Some of them were more on the blobby side after cooking and spreading out.)
You'll need:
  • 1/4 C. honey
  • 2 T. Okinawan black sugar (or sugar of your choice)
  • 2 T. butter (or coconut oil)
  • 1/4 t. vanilla extract
  • 1 C. almond flour
  • 1/8 C. katakuriko (potato starch) or 1/4 C. arrowroot powder
  • 1 T. coconut flour
  • 2 t. ground ginger
  • 1/4 t. cinnamon
  • 1/4 t. nutmeg
  • 1/2 t. baking soda
Do this:

Preheat your oven to 350 F /170 C. To make a caramel-y/molasses-y syrup, you heat up your honey till bubbly on the stove, then a few minutes later whisk in the sugar, butter, and vanilla. It'll be on the brown side. Turn it off and set aside for a minute.

Put all the rest of the ingredients in a food processor and whiz for a minute or so. Add in the liquid from your pan and blitz again till it gels together. Take it out, plop it into a bowl and form into one giant sticky ball with your hands.

Slap it between two pieces of parchment paper, roll it out (not too thinly), and cut into desired shapes. Continue till you've used up all your gingery dough, and bake the cookies on parchment paper for about 6-7 minutes.

Cool 'em off on a wire rack. If you want to add a little pizazz, grab one of your Valentine 72% bitter chocolate bars, melt, and dip. Slide into the fridge for some chill-out time, and your cookies will be even crispier.

Chocolate and ginger. LOVEly together.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

superfood hot chocolate

A friend posted this recipe on Facebook tonight and within a few minutes, I had some brewing on the stove. I just couldn't resist.

Who could say no to a hot blend of almond milk, coconut oil, raw cacao powder, turmeric, black pepper, maple syrup, cinnamon, cayenne, and sea salt? An ecstatic match for your taste buds. Oh, yes. 

It came from this source, and though it called for maca, I didn't have any (not sure I can even get that in Japan unless I do a special order). I did, however, have all the other ingredients, and together, they were perfect with an episode of Dickensian. I still have the theme music going round in me noggin. 

bbq pulled pork + pickled radishes

A simple lunch the other day that was sweet, sour, cold, warm, and crunchy--just the right mix. I had leftover BBQ pulled pork that I had made in the slow cooker (a sauce comprised of sweet chili sauce, pepper, apple cider vinegar, a bit of brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, and chili powder that came from a cookbook of my aunt's). I just reheated a bowl of it, put a spoonful at a time on a lettuce leaf, and added some homemade pickled radishes for tartness and extra texture. A lunch delight.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

deconstructed cottage pie

I used to have an Australian cookbook and there was a recipe similar to this in there. Similar, but anyway, I just went on a cooking spree and used whatever I had on hand tonight.

Rather than making a casserole and peeling potatoes to mash them, I threw the meat-veggie sauce on top of microwave-baked taters. Feel free to use your proper oven as you have time. I was in a bit of a rush. (The sauce would probably be even better if you got it going and let it simmer while you actually baked real baked potatoes.)

You'll need:
  • about 450 g (1 lb.) ground beef/pork mixture
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 4 minced garlic cloves
  • olive oil
  • 1/4 head of cabbage, sliced thinly
  • 1 small bag (250 g) frozen peas
  • handful fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 2 teaspoons chunky sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • shake of cayenne pepper for warmth
Do this:

Saute your onion and garlic in olive oil till toasty and fragrant and soft, toss in the cabbage till wilted, then add the beef/pork and stir till broken up and browned. Throw in the peas, parsley, Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, ketchup, salt, pepper, and cayenne. Let it bubble while you deal with your potatoes (1 per person).

When soft, split a potato on each plate, dollop a little butter and sprinkle a little salt and pepper. Cover with a heaping spoonful (or several) of meat sauce.

This'll warm yer bones. 

Monday, December 14, 2015

faux-roccan chicken

Not exactly Moroccan, but as close as Ameri-Brits in Japan could get.

This was a kitchen-collaboration with my younger Bean, and we had fun putting it together. A Mamatouille-J-Bean original. Enjoy!

You'll need:
  • 2 chicken breasts, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 7 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced thinly
  • olive oil
  • cooking alcohol such as white wine (I used sake)
  • a handful of fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 15-oz. (425-g) can chopped tomatoes
  • 2.5 teaspoons Moroccan spice (includes salt, pepper, garlic, paprika, rosemary, turmeric, cumin, and coriander)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon chunky black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon powdered dried yuzu (citron) or other citrus peel
  • 2 small lemons, juiced
Do this:

Saute your onions in olive oil until brown, then add the garlic and stir for a bit. When the garlic is a bit browned, pour in about 1/4 cup of cooking alcohol and let it steam off. Throw in a little more oil and then brown the chicken in the pan with the onions and garlic. It doesn't have to cook through at this point, just enough to get a little color. Now toss in the tomatoes, parsley, Moroccan spice, salt, pepper, coriander, cinnamon, and dried citrus peel. Simmer for as long as you have time (and make sure the chicken isn't pink in the middle--this doesn't actually take long).

At the very end, just before serving, add the lemon juice and stir through before spooning it all on rice with a side of roasted broccoli. We had pineapple for dessert, and the elder Bean had his in a yellow bowl. He said the pineapple was camouflaged.

Monday, December 7, 2015

coconut-flour apricot-pear crumble

Fresh out of the oven!

We've had a long bout of bronchitis passed around among the four of us, and now that we're looking at it from a different angle (not a completely well angle, but a we-have-slightly-more-energy-angle), I actually remembered that I have a food blog. {Hello, Mamatouille! I've missed you, girlfriend.}

This is a Mamatouille original, concocted in love and in dessert-longing. 

You'll need:
  • a 15-oz. (425-g) can each of apricots and pears (or fresh, if you've got them), and save the apricot juice for later 
  • a splash of lemon juice
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour, sifted
  • 1/4 cup oats
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar (I used Okinawan "black" sugar)
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter or coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
Do this:

Preheat your oven to 350 F/170 C.

Chop the fruit with tender loving care, popping the occasional apricot treat into your happy gob. Chef's perks.

Grab an 8x8-inch pan, metal or glass, and place the fruit randomly and beautifully in the bottom. Sprinkle some lemon juice over all (just enough to add a bit of tang but not enough to make some kind of funky chunky lemonade).

In a big mixing bowl, beat your eggs with the vanilla extract and melted butter or coconut oil, then stir in the sifted coconut flour, oats, brown sugar, spices, and walnuts.

It will get hard to stir pretty quickly (coconut flour tends to do that), but don't worry. Blend as best you can and then dollop it on the fruit.

Bake approximately 25-30 minutes, until everything is bubbly and browning. Watch carefully to make sure it doesn't go beyond tan to blackened.

Sprinkle with a little of the reserved apricot juice if you so desire.